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That commute home is where it hits you, or maybe it’s when you finally walk out of the office door for the evening….what did I get done today? You look at your To-Do List at the end of the day and find that it’s actually grown since the morning started out.

Some days, productivity escapes you.

Now, there could be some very good reasons for this. It may have been a day of putting out a lot of unexpected fires, or for some other reason, priorities shifted beyond your control.

What keeps you from getting as much done every day as you can? What if you set a goal that you would be more productive this week? Would you know what the barriers to your productivity are?

How do you become more productive?

Decide that you want to experiment with productivity to make this more of a daily priority. You can explore what gets in the way of a productive day. There are certain barriers to productivity that are important to understand:

Procrastination (see my article next week) – Ah yes, this is putting off those really big scary tasks and never seeming to find the time for them. Recommendation: Make a list of all of those things that you are procrastinating about then put a small plan together to address each of those NOW, today. What is the smallest you can do that will at least get you moving on this activity?

Perfectionism – it has to be done perfectly….OR ELSE! Challenge that perfectionist side of you to take a break! Instead of perfection, strive for progress every day and don’t evaluate what you did wrong or not good enough, but instead what moved forward, even if slowly.

Not having clear and realistic goals. Do you know exactly what you need to accomplish each day? Take some time to set goals for yourself both personally and professionally….even if it’s at the weekly level. Set goals every week before the work week begins then cascade these goals daily, even if in bite-sized pieces…make slow but steady progress.

Not prioritizing your work and focusing on the most important things. Your To-Do List maybe 3 pages (yes that happened to me once) but prioritization is what will determine your productivity. What are the most important things that need to get addressed? You can number rank them or do the ABC method. Whichever works best for you.

Not having the right tools, or not using them correctly. It’s important to have a task and project planner. I use the Franklin Covey method. Others use Outlook, for example. This is a place where you put your calendar, priorities for the day, and allows them to all roll up to weekly and monthly tasks.

Lack of understanding around peak performance times. There are times where you do better work than others. Are you a morning person? Afternoon? Evening? Plan to tackle your most difficult and challenging work (see Procrastination list) during your peak times. Really notice when you peak in energy throughout the day and manage your work effort by those peaks.

Holding on to things you really need to let go of. Delegate, delegate, delegate. Sometimes you may have to spend money to become more productive by hiring a virtual administrative assistant or having the dry cleaners deliver and pick up at your home. At work, look for others who could benefit from your delegation of assignments.

I go to bed so late and wake up tired. Your productive day begins the day before. You can plan tasks, clean up your office space and come to a new organized area every morning where you know exactly what you need to do to hit the ground running.

Eliminate interruptions…turn your phone and notifications off for a little while. All the interruptions can wait for you to focus on what you need to get done.

ACTION CHALLENGE

Do any of these barriers resonate with you? What can you work on this coming week to increase your daily productivity? Experiment with best techniques for you.

I would love to hear your thoughts.

 

 

Up Coaching LLC.

Lupe S. Wood, MS, PCC, is a certified Career/Executive Coach. She coaches individuals and leaders to career fulfillment, transition, and advancement. She also consults for results with businesses and solopreneurs. Her background includes 12 years in senior leadership for a Fortune 100 corporation and 7 years as a coach, with a Master’s degree in Organizational Effectiveness and Executive Coaching.

 

For more information, please visit my website at www.upcoached.com

 

 

 

Does this sound familiar? Your boss gives you an important assignment. It’s not due for 3 months but will take a bit of time to research and present a solution. Days pass, weeks pass…lots of urgent work to attend to. You haven’t forgotten about the assignment, but you keep putting it off and putting it off until you realize you only have a week left and haven’t even started to look at the assignment.

Procrastination happens to all of us. Before the time of electronic returns for your taxes, US Post Offices would be flooded with people on the evening of 4/15. There would be long lines of cars and the post office having postal workers out collecting the taxes to be mailed. It was an annual ritual.

Yes, procrastination happens to all of us.

It’s the act of putting things off for another time, not addressing the “important but not urgent” items.

There are several reasons for procrastinating:

Fear – fear of failure, fear of not being perfect, fear that you don’t know what you’re doing or fear of what happens when you do it (for example, I owe on my taxes!).

Lack of knowledge – You truly don’t know how to do it and don’t feel comfortable asking someone.

Perfectionism – You just know you can’t do this perfectly, so you don’t do it at all.

Lack of organization – This is just so big and complex. Where do I start?

Complexity – You don’t know how to plan out a complex project and task it out.

Busyness – You said “yes” to something when the reality is that you are over capacity and never should have agreed to it in the first place.

Rather than the address at the moment, it gets placed on a shelf, until there is just no choice but to move forward on it. And now, it’s a rush to get something done with a lot of guilt and bad feelings for not doing something earlier!

How to break the cycle:

1. Forgive yourself! Studies actually show that individuals are very hard on themselves during a procrastination event. “I should have been working on this earlier.” “I should have asked for help.” “I should have just said “NO.” This negativity spirals and can also keep you locked in procrastination.

2. Take some time to understand your procrastination style. Understanding what makes you procrastinate can help you address the situation when it arises. What makes you procrastinate? For myself, I know that it is complexity, busyness, and sometimes downright cold fear.

3. Write it all down. Capture all of those things that may not be written down, but keep you up at night. For example, I know there are a lot of house tasks we need to address in our home, but none of these are written down… reseal the deck, have a roofer out, blacktop the driveway. These things can gnaw on you until you address them and step one can be simply making a list.

4. Ask for help! There are so many ways to address what needs to be done…virtual assistants, handymen, your co-workers, someone you trust. Understand that the task won’t go away…hire someone to help or delegate it.

5. Ask yourself, what’s bothering me…what’s uncomfortable about this task? Is it something I don’t know how to handle or something so visible that if I make a mistake it will be huge? What is making you avoid this task? Doing this analysis can help you to decide on what you need to do to make this happen.

6. Plan it out. I like to keep lists on my Franklin Covey planner so that these kinds of efforts don’t fall to the wayside. Plan the smallest amount of work you can do each week.

7. Let someone hold you accountable. Share with a trusted friend, advisor, coach. Have them keep you accountable to keep moving forward, no matter what.

I laugh at the expression of getting “a round tuit”. There are a lot of “round tuits” out there. Decide that you will instead go for getting motivated…motivated to tackle those things that you have been procrastinating about.

ACTION CHALLENGE

Do you know your procrastination style? Take some time this week to break the cycle of procrastination and move forward.

 

 

Up Coaching LLC.

Lupe S. Wood, MS, PCC, is a certified Career/Executive Coach. She coaches individuals and leaders to career fulfillment, transition, and advancement. She also consults for results with businesses and solopreneurs. Her background includes 12 years in senior leadership for a Fortune 100 corporation and 7 years as a coach, with a Master’s degree in Organizational Effectiveness and Executive Coaching.

 

For more information, please visit my website at www.upcoached.com